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Women’s basketball loses sixth straight to No. 19 Notre Dame

The skid continues for the Cavaliers as they struggle to get back to winning ways

<p>The Cavaliers knocked down just seven of their 23 three-point attempts in the loss Thursday night.</p>

The Cavaliers knocked down just seven of their 23 three-point attempts in the loss Thursday night.

Virginia women’s basketball hosted Notre Dame at John Paul Jones Arena Thursday for an Atlantic Coast Conference clash. The Cavaliers (8-9, 0-6 ACC) suffered their third consecutive double-digit loss, allowing the No. 19 Fighting Irish (13-3, 4-2 ACC) to dominate the game and hold a lead at the end of every quarter on their way to an 86-76 victory. Virginia still has yet to find its first win in ACC play. 

The game began with the Cavaliers missing their first field goal attempt and junior guard Sonia Citron hitting a three-pointer to open the scoring for Notre Dame. The scoring went back and forth for a time, with freshman guard Kymora Johnson leading the way for the Cavaliers.

Johnson ended the first period with seven points, shooting 50 percent from the field as well as knocking down a three-pointer. Despite a strong showing from Johnson, Virginia struggled to hit many shots, shooting only 33 percent from the field and missing all six three-point attempts aside from Johnson’s lone make. The quarter ended with the Cavaliers down by eight with a score of 24-16. 

Virginia put together a slight comeback in the second quarter, getting the game to within four points at one point and outscoring the Irish 17-15 altogether. However, they went into the half still down six points. 

Johnson continued to make plays and was joined in scoring by freshman guard Olivia McGhee, who ended the half with six points on 3-for-6 from the field. The game was not quite out of hand, and it seemed as though Virginia would eventually be able to make a comeback to find their first ACC win of the season. The Cavaliers ended the half shooting similar percentages from both the field and the three-point line, although turnovers were something that plagued them, with 10 in the first half to Notre Dame’s four. 

The Fighting Irish started the second half hot, scoring nine straight and extending the lead to 15. The gap closed a little bit, but Notre Dame would not be denied and was eventually able to build a lead of 20 points, mostly thanks to Citron, who scored 18 points in the second half and 28 for the game to reach 1,000 points for her career. Freshman guard Hannah Hidalgo also contributed 23 points and nine assists. 

For the Cavaliers, Johnson and sophomore guard Paris Clark scored 16 each with Johnson also tallying eight rebounds and seven assists. McGhee also added 14 points on an efficient shooting night. Despite those three double-digit performances, Virginia fell by double digits yet again.

The Cavaliers’ struggles continue as they have lost all six of the ACC competitions thus far, although most of them came against ranked opponents. Coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton reflected on her team’s most recent defeat, emphasizing their continued collective desire to end up on the right side of the scoreboard. 

“Obviously, we want to get the win,” Agugua-Hamilton said. “We want to get our first one in conference… I know once we get that first win in conference, it will continue to trickle down.”

In order to do that, Virginia badly needs to find its groove offensively, as the Cavaliers are shooting only 37.9 percent from the field and 27.4 percent from three-point range. It may only take one efficient shooting night for Virginia to seal that long-awaited win. 

Virginia’s schedule doesn’t get much easier as they look to turn things around. The Cavaliers will face No. 15 Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla. Sunday at 2 p.m., and the game is set to be broadcast on ACC Network. 


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